Hiring family office personnel or domestic staff is one of the most important decisions a successful family must make. These employees help ensure that the family can thrive over multiple generations and run smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
To mitigate the risks of making the wrong hire, it’s important to begin with a strong application and interview process. The overall goal of any job interview should be to gather as much information as possible so you can make the right choice, of course.
Whether you make the right hire for your family office will depend on the questions you ask during the interview. Remember, applicants can spend hours crafting a resumé. They will carefully calculate every response made on an application and vet their references carefully. In other words, the interview is your chance to regain some control over the process.
That doesn’t mean you should go into a candidate interview with the idea that it is you vs. the applicant. Some families mistakenly think that interviews give them the opportunity to “trap” applicants with “gotcha” questions.
If your only goal is to “weed out” bad interviewers, you will end up hiring the best interviewee, and they are not always the best hire.
With that in mind, your first question is very simple: Is everything you have provided to us accurate and complete?
It’s a simple question that accomplishes a lot: First, it establishes that truth and accuracy are important to you during the hiring process. No exaggerations or wild claims — just the facts.
Next, the question lays the foundation that your questions are meant to discover the facts and that what was submitted in writing will be an important part of discovering the facts.
It also allows the applicant to correct his or her submissions if there has been a mistake or an omission: “I would like to change the date on my time spent with the Smith family. I started there the first quarter of 2012 and not in 2011,” for example.
Finally, it lays a foundation for the use, if necessary, of the legal doctrine of “after-acquired evidence.” The doctrine is used for limiting damages when an employee commits wrongdoing that is discovered during the course of litigation.
For example, suppose during discovery regarding Joe’s age-discrimination claim it is revealed that Joe lied on his resume about a material matter; and that if he had been truthful, he would not have been hired. If he is hired based on that falsehood, and later Joe brings a legitimate charge of age discrimination, Joe’s employer could argue that any damages Joe seeks based on the discrimination claim should be limited.
The after-acquired evidence doctrine works best when the wrongdoing is made at the beginning of employment, allowing employers to argue that the claimant’s falsehoods led to his or her employment in their family office.
Obviously, the written application is the best means for preserving the applicant’s pre-hire representations (or misrepresentations). Every application should require an attestation to the truthfulness of the statements on it and during the entire family office hiring process.
Mike Rosser is the Vice President of CCIG’s Private Client Group. Reach him at Mike.Rosser@thinkccig.com or at 720-212-2068. You can also connect with Mike via LinkedIn.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance, employee benefits and surety brokerage with clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.Back to Resources